PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Pueblo County Undersheriff J.R. Hall says deputies have seen heroin cases escalate in the last two years.
Hall says legalizing marijuana will make it more difficult to tackle the epidemic. When voters legalized marijuana in November 2012, he said it made drugs, like heroin, more acceptable among young people.
"When society allows an illicit drug to be acceptable, accessible or affordable, then that isn't good for the young people in society," Hall said.
Additionally, Hall believes the Drug Enforcement Administration's crackdown on prescription drug abuse is fueling a much-larger opiate problem.
"There has been some effort to restrict opiate usage and opiate abuse by the medical community and as a result of that you're seeing people trying to get this opiate effect through whatever means possible and that's usually illegal," Hall said.
Last week, deputies confiscated a pound of heroin from a home in Pueblo valued at $100,000.
"That's not really even a lot compared to what we think is coming in," he said.
The death of actor Philip Seymour-Hoffman has garnered media attention on heroin abuse. Authorities believe Hoffman died from a heroin overdose. Hall says similar stories unfold in Pueblo County.
"In law enforcement, your local law enforcement, some parent's child has already died or even some child's parent has died and that's unacceptable as well," Hall said.
No one has been arrested in connection with last week's heroin bust. Hall said deputies are building a case against potential suspects.